Helping people feel good about themselves has always been a passion of mine. So it’s not surprising my self-acceptance and color therapy brand was an evolution of my personal wellness blog.
On this blog, I shared my mid-20s weight loss journey: the recipes I tried, exercises I enjoyed, new terms I learned, and my thoughts on body image.
The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write about body acceptance. And the more I wrote about body acceptance, the more I wanted to write about self-acceptance and how it impacts our overall quality of life…not just our physical health and wellness.
Despite being vulnerable enough to share changes in my body on that blog, I initially shied away from sharing my self-acceptance story until I remembered why I decided to focus on it in the first place!
When I finally decided to put more of myself out there by sharing my personal story as proof that my advice was realistic and achievable, an interesting thing happened.
I worried if what I had to share would be enough to help people. Whether my own struggle with detaching my worth from my productivity and accomplishments would be relatable.
Or if people with worse lived experiences would even be able to find value in mine. Luckily, I started sharing my experiences anyway on the new blog, on Instagram, in emails, and during the workshops I hosted.
Know what happened? People started sharing their own experiences with me!
They shared how much they were looking forward to putting my methods into practice. And they even shared how much putting them into practice had changed their lives (or their perspectives).
Most of these people related to my story because I was sharing my own experiences in the form of transformative, helpful content based on what I found to solve a problem we both shared.
Through your unique experiences (both professional and personal), you have a powerful story to share. And since storytelling is one of the most common ways people connect with each other, it's a natural, authentic way to connect with and grow your audience too!
Between sharing the stories of my clients (and their audiences) by day as an advertising creative and sharing my own story as a coach and content creator by night, I spend a lot of time studying brand stories, dissecting them, and finding opportunities to share them in as many ways as possible.
So let’s talk about how you can start sharing your own story to connect with and grow your audience using my 4-step system!
1) Define your goals
Most entrepreneurs and business owners who hesitate to start sharing their stories are hesitant because they think they have to share all their personal business.
They wonder if their story is unique enough or worth sharing. They worry no one will care about what they have to say. Or they have no idea where or how to get started.
Regardless of your reasoning, the solution to these concerns is to start with clear goals in mind. Without clearly defined goals, you run the risk of giving your all with little to no return leading you to become overwhelmed and burnt out.
Before you share your first story, I suggest you do two things:
Get clear on what sharing means for you and your business.
Get to know your audience so you understand their goals too.
2) Build your story library
In addition to worrying no one will care about what they have to say, I find some entrepreneurs think they don’t have enough to say.
They think this either because they don’t realize how much they know about their niche or because they don’t realize how valuable their experiences are.
This step is the key to overcoming and releasing those thoughts. By laying out your most relevant and relatable experiences and then sorting through them, you’ll begin to see just how much you have to offer your audience before you even mention your products or services!
Get clear on your brand story by spelling out what you want to be known for in your industry, how you want to be viewed by your audience, and what sets you apart.
Use Evernote, a notebook, or a spreadsheet to write down every experience that backs up your brand story.
In my coaching program, Transformative Helpful Content, I walk you through a series of exercises to help you recall these stories so we can map out your brand story and build a customized system for organizing, tracking, and sharing them.
3) Organize your thoughts
After seeing just how much you have to share with your audience, you might be tempted to dive right into sharing your story. But remember what I said about having defined goals? Your goal in this step is to review your calendar so you can decide what your audience needs to know about you or your business over the next 30 to 90 days.
Take note of any events happening during that time period. This may include speaking engagements, workshops, launches, proposals, or important seasons within your industry.
Get clear on the amount of and type of content you’ll need before, during, and after each event. The best way to do this is by thinking about when and where you’ll be sharing each piece of content.
4) Share your story
Take a minute to celebrate your hard work because it's time to put your plan into action. Without this step, your audience may never get the opportunity to get to know you. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to actually creating your content, making it easy for things to fall through the cracks.
Copy needs to be written. Photos need to be taken. Videos need to be recorded. Completed content needs to be shared or distributed. And someone has to get it all done!
Take some time to get clear on the format you plan to share each piece of content in.
Create a detailed workflow by making a list of every step it takes to complete each type of content.
Complete each step on the list!
When it comes to sharing your story to connect with and grow your audience: Your audience doesn’t need you to be a perfect version of yourself. Your people don’t need you to have it all together. Your community doesn’t even need you to be the next big guru. They just need you to be YOU!
Everything you need to build a relationship with your audience already exists inside your story. It's those experiences that will help your people feel understood by you. That got you where you are today.
And that will help someone else get to where they want to be too! Storytelling is the perfect way to guide your audience through your journey while allowing them to wade through their own — but with more insight and ease because they have you to help them!
Some of our industries require us to ask our customers or clients to share some of the most intimate parts of themselves with us. Parts that require vulnerability to actively seek help or support for in any form.
Not only does storytelling help you grow your audience. It also helps people grow more comfortable coming to you with whatever problem(s) you can help them with.
Instead of thinking about sharing your story as another way to reach as many people as possible, start thinking about how big and impactful each of your tiny, individual stories can be to that one person who really needs it.
When you create personal connections that positively impact the right people, you also build a loyal audience full of people who genuinely want to buy from you because they trust you. That’s the goal of sharing transformative, helpful content!